Samoa continues to face shortage of nurses

The Nurses Association President, Solialofi Papalii, says there is still a shortage of nurses in hospitals in Samoa.

Currently about 350 nurses are on the duty roll, but she said the ratio of that against a country with a population under 200,000 is unfitting. 

Ms. Papal'ii said although there is a constant flow of graduates joining the workforce, this does not stop them from leaving the job.

"Still not enough," she said.

"In the most recent graduation, there were 99 graduates but remember, we cannot stop nurses from draining (including retiring nurses). 

"Some of them graduate but end up resigning for quota and such opportunities."

She also mentioned that 15 nurses have resigned in total from Savaii for similar opportunities, of a better life overseas.

"The challenge lies in the fact that it isn’t the type of work that you can just move in to straight, you have to go through the training and the education."

Asked what the Association is doing to promote the profession in order to increase its numbers, she said they continue to work with Samoa Qualification Authority, National University of Samoa and the Ministry of Health.

"We always have the advertisements, and we also work together with S.Q.A. to promote the profession but then there are also the entry criteria," said Papali'i.

"It is because no matter what, but if you say you are not in science, no math, no english? Then that’s the part that should always be clear, we need the qualities.

"Those who have science background, plus English and math because this job requires you to use your brain to calculate everything needed."

Papali'i said lowering the student intake criteria is not an option as it could translate to "less quality students" graduating.

"And even if we try and lower the criteria, we will only get less quality students, poor quality and it will require a lot more demonstration, talk, and practicing what they have to do," she said. 

"And when it comes the time they have to work, your adrenaline secretes while you’re trying to do your job and make sure they’re doing their jobs right, and we will be accountable.

"And the other things are that the association always works together with the university, and tri-part tie thing, the association works together with the school and Ministry.

"Ministry is still doing its part in sponsoring [students] too, but so far it has been decreased to just about 30 places. So if someone can’t afford the fees, then that’s also a great barrier."

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